We will now resume our regular blogging schedule

The laptop is fixed..er…or rather was never really broken. Somehow the kitten managed to kill the cord, and the loose ac power inlet was an incidental finding.

One new power cord later (for the life of me I can’t figure out how she did it) I’ve got my precious back.

Some key denialism links though I’ve been enjoying

Orac on bad anti-science comedy

Just about everybody talking about the former Surgeon General’s muzzling by the Bush administration. Should we be surprised that the administration’s new nominee is a homobigot endorsed by the fake family values groups? I must admit, I’m getting sick of these guys putting up with this crap for years, then only doing something about it after they’re out of the job. Are they deluded into thinking they can change the anti-science politics of this administration?

Finally, I’d like to thank the people who gave me good computer advice and offered help, especially Batz, Terry, and Ray. My machine is getting a bit old and when it does die, it sounds like I’ll likely make the switch to a mac that dual-boots or runs parallels. Seems like the best of both worlds.

I am in withdrawal

I need my laptop.

Last week, the power input, which was getting loose, finally decided to become fully disconnected. It might have had something to do with the kitten hanging from the power cord. And sadly, when I consulted the repair people I am told the only solution is to replace the entire motherboard, rather than just reconnect or repair the jack.

In the meantime I have become grumpy and withdrawn. I am unable to blog without my bookmarks and properly configured web-browser. I realize how fully dependent I have become on this machine. My reference database is on it, as well as the paper I’ve been working on, all my other work software, photoshop, and various other programs that allow me to be functional from day to day are now out of reach as I await the verdict from the repair shop.

On the plus side, I got about twice as much bench work done today as I usually do, although I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to interpret what I wrote in my notebook in the future (I usually print out protocols).

The question is, if the repair makes it more sensible to purchase a new machine, what should I get? And I can’t get a Mac, just to short-circuit that conversation right there. Too much of the software I need to do data processing is Windows-dependent, and my lab isn’t going to dump thousands of dollars to buy Mac versions. I currently have a Thinkpad, which has been a consistently rock-solid piece of hardware that, while heavy, has always been reliable and fast. I am reluctant to buy a new Thinkpad since they are now made by Lenovo, and don’t know if the quality is convenient.

I will not buy a Dell, because they are loud, ugly, and everyone in our lab who has had one has had catastrophic drive collapses at some time or another. I can take a motherboard death, but losing a drive can be a real pain in the ass. What do people think?

In the meantime I will blog and comment less (and less effectively) as I am rarely near a friendly computer that knows all my passwords and has my RSS feeds handy.

Hire Google for your denialist campaign!

An alert reader noticed that when he performed a Google search on ‘Sicko’, guess who pops up in the sponsored links? Why, our good friends at AEI, a denialist organization second only to CEI, but since they have a lot of the same people working for both it’s really just academic which one you’re arguing with. When you need your crappy industry defended from public criticism, you can always rely on AEI or CEI to chomp at the bit and pretend there is “no problem”.

What’s even more interesting is that Google actually solicited ads (fixed link) to combat Sicko’s bad PR for the insurance industry. How’s that for “do no evil”?

AEI’s criticism is pretty weak:

Continue reading “Hire Google for your denialist campaign!”

Happy 4th

I’m vacuuming. Not because it’s something I only do on the 4th, but rather because Chris H is coming to town!

So, if you want the shock of seeing more than one Hoofnagle in the same place you should try to find us in Charlottesville. It’s not hard, we’ll likely be at the Bistro drinking.

I know I shouldn’t find this funny

It’s Ruthless Reviews coverage of the Creation Museum’s opening.

I’d just like to say that I don’t condone dressing up like a mentally disabled person before interviewing Ken Ham. And I don’t find it funny, at all, to mock somebody for their religion. Even if they think dinosaurs are vegetarian, they don’t deserve mockery from pill-popping investigative reporters going undercover with “Asperger’s by proxy”. I especially don’t find it funny that they created a fake website, the “Special Times”, to gain press access to the Creation Museum’s opening.

And this youtube video of the interview? Not an ounce of humor there.
Continue reading “I know I shouldn’t find this funny”

Animal rights terrorists have their next target

The LA Times reports.

The FBI and the Los Angeles Fire Department are investigating an anonymous claim that animal rights extremists placed an unexploded incendiary device found under the car of a prominent UCLA eye doctor last weekend. The incident was similar to one last year in which another UCLA researcher was the intended target.

A gasoline-filled device was discovered Sunday by the car outside the Westside home of Dr. Arthur Rosenbaum, who is chief of pediatric ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. The device did not ignite despite evidence of an attempt to light it, authorities said Thursday.

An e-mail on Wednesday signed by the Animal Liberation Brigade said the group put the device there to stop experiments on animals in Rosenbaum’s laboratory. The message claimed a gallon of fuel was set alight under the vehicle, but authorities said there was no fire.

Attacking scientists again, but it appears – as with the unexploded incendiary device used against a previous UCLA target – their incompetence has spared them from doing great harm.

And Vlasak, the former spokesman for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and now loosely-affiliated animal rights terrorist spokesman even gets a mention.

A Woodland Hills-based group called the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, or NAALPO, alerted reporters to the anonymous claim signed by the Animal Liberation Brigade concerning Rosenbaum’s car. NAALPO said it had nothing to do with the incendiary device and does not know who was responsible.

However, NAALPO spokesman Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon, said he agreed ideologically with such violent tactics against anyone leading painful experiments, particularly on primates. When peaceful protests don’t work, “we certainly advocate taking it to the next level,” he said.

Now last time we discussed this, some of you were more reluctant to call it terrorism despite the secondary risks of arson and massive property damage. I disagree but still, I get the point. It’s terminology that is over-used and incorrect a lot of the time. But here we have ALF trying to bomb this ophthalmologist with Vlasak saying they “advocate taking it to the next level” – do we agree we’ve crossed the threshold yet?

My question for Luskin IV

I officially retract my question to Luskin as it has been answered. When I last asked my question of Luskin in regards to their assertion that the denial of tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez was a matter of “academic freedom”, I really wanted an answer to it. My question was:

Mr. Luskin, is it the considered opinion of the DI, UD etc., that it is never acceptable to discriminate against a professor in a tenure decision based on their ideas?

Now, Tara shows me the answer to my question in her post Why deny only one part of science? IDists branch out into AIDS denial.

I think my question is answered, and it is “no”.

Now, it’s been frequently mentioned on here that prominent IDers Phillip Johnson and Jon Wells have previously stated their “skepticism” of HIV as the cause of AIDS. To their credit, most IDers I know disagree with Johnson and Wells on this point. However, Scot and Cordova buy right into it. Scot:

That said it’s not wholly unlikely that HIV is a symptom rather than a cause of AIDS. From my POV 23 years of considering it the cause of AIDS has not moved us any closer to a vaccine. There are two possibilities in that. The first is that the virus is just too insidious but second is that it isn’t insidious it’s just not the cause so no amount of effort against the virus will prevent the disease. However it does seem incredibly unlikely that AIDS isn’t a transmissable disease caused by infectious element of some sort so if not HIV then what is it? The evidence is circumstantial and compelling but the lack of progress in curing AIDS is also compelling evidence that we’re on the wrong track.

Incredibly likely? Because we have no vaccine? That means that more than 99% of all infectious diseases, then, aren’t infectious.

Cordova, meanwhile:

Even if the dissent is wrong, it would be hard to argue those involved are crackpots. [Cites Kary Mullis, Bernard Forscher and David Rasnick]. Given how I’ve seen Darwinian evolution promoted and how it has created harmful medical and social practices, it’s hard not to be skeptical of all sorts of accepted scientific “truths”.

At least they’re consistent. With Dembski defending a holocaust denier, their AGW denialism from DaveScot, their general evolution denialism, and now HIV/AIDS denialism from at least 4 prominent IDers, I think it’s safe to write of the Discovery Institute and the intelligent design creationist movement as just another clearing house for anti-science and denialism. They clearly wouldn’t have a problem with a virology department hiring an HIV/AIDS denier, or a history department hiring a holocaust denier because they simply aren’t competent to judge what is good science and what isn’t.

Now, people may ask, why is this? Why is there so much overlap between cranks? Why do they not care if a crank has an inconsistent view as long as they’re attacking science? For instance, there is no consistency between the various IDers and their beliefs of what intelligent design covers – Behe is a raging “Darwinist” compared to Dembski for instance. Why are they like this?

Well I think our original post on the Unified Theory of the Crank still has the explanation. The fundamental issue is that of competence. Cranks can not make competent scientific arguments. And because people who are incompetent are not capable of recognizing competence in others (discussed in the post), cranks are not competent to judge the scientific arguments of others. Further, they enjoy anything that attacks perceived scientific “orthodoxy” because they figure if one aspect of the orthodoxy can be attacked, why not the orthdoxy they hate so much? They see science as a uniform enemy to be attacked, and any aspect of science that can be brought into question is an advance of their cause because they are fundamentally anti-science. They want their overvalued ideas to be believed by others, and science is in the way. Therefore science itself is the enemy and any attack on any branch of science is to their advantage.

Thanks Tara!

And the winner is…

Many thanks to those who sent in entries. If people get a stunning idea in the future I’ll always accept more banners and put them in the shuffle if they send them to me. But today’s winner is this stunner from Patrick of Dog Opus. Be sure to check out his graphic-design blog.

And here it is! It will be at the top of the page all week.